During Rajinikanth’s early days, the biggest challenge his mentor faced was the actor’s speed. If the scene required Rajini to walk across a hall, iconic director K. Balachander would repeatedly shout at him, “Medhuva, medhuva” (slowly!) so the camera could pan him leisurely. Yet the actor would have whizzed past, leaving the cameraman shake his head and throw up his hands calling for a retake.
Veteran filmmaker S.P. Muthuraman recalls how (late) Balachander eventually managed to solve the matter. “Yet there was no controlling him the moment the director said ‘cut, shot okay’,” says Muthuraman, 82. “Rajini would typically whizz off to his chair or sneak out for a smoke—all in a jiffy.”